All smiles at training, what have we learned ahead of Ross County clash

Celtic trained yesterday on a cold but sunny December morning ahead of today’s clash with Ross County at Celtic Park. The Scottish Champions and Quadruple Treble winners need to get back to being focused on league action after their penalty shoot-out win at Hampden on Sunday.

What did we learn from Hampden?

Mikey Johnston continued in his recovery with a second half cameo as Celtic tried to stop the Hearts advance. The winger will take confidence from his penalty and will be hoping to feature tonight in some capacity. Getting him up to speed could be exactly what the manager is needing, especially given James Forrest’s absence from the team.

Leigh Griffiths came on scored in extra-time and then slotted his penalty beyond Craig Gordon in the shoot-out. He said after the game that he was fit but he needed to play more for increased sharpness. The manager disagrees and says he needs to work harder to play more but don’t be surprised if we see Griffiths getting increased time on the pitch tonight.

Conor Hazard saved two penalties but looked a bit unsure at times during the game – most notably for an error that lead to the Hearts third goal. However, it would be a body blow to his confidence if the manager were to replace him so expect him to continue tonight. In doing so, Lennon would signal his intention to recruit a goalkeeper in January instead of reinstating Barkas.

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What did we learn from training?

Scott Brown and Shane Duffy both trained, even if the manager said that they were doubts for tonight’s game. Their absence is probably more to do with rotation than any serious injuries and it would allow Bitton and Soro to stake a claim for a starting place tonight.

It was all smiles as the players were put through their paces, hopefully the win on Sunday will galvanise the unit and lead to a charge ahead of the game at Ibrox. Maximum points before the game on January 2 are a must and if Rangers slip up, Celtic could go into that game high on confidence but that can only be achieved by winning matches convincingly.

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

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